Ladies. Why is it that I find it so difficult to shop for them, yet they seem to have no trouble at all shopping for themselves? Every time I try to buy the perfect gift for my mama or the girl at my local ice cream store who I swear twirls soft-serve vanilla cones with pure love, I end up completely disgruntled, and just settle on one of the universal cliches of womenfolk gifts: flowers; chocolates; or one free voucher to watch TV on the couch with me, redeemable at any time. That's why this Ladies Edition of my holiday gift guide renounces all cliches. These gifts aren't just gifts women want, many of them are gifts women don't even know they want. And they're all way better than watching Reba reruns with your mama. (Note: All items' prices are listed as they were at printing. Prices are subject to change.)
For Ladies Who Like Cool & Edgy Things
Lace Skull & Crossbones Pants ($218). Black, lace, skulls. They're the trifecta of ladies' fantasies. And by "ladies", I mean "my".
Evil Cat Self Defense Keychain ($6). "As I was saying, I'm a woman and can't be taken for granted. Life's a bitch, now so am I." -Catwoman, Batman Returns. Don't mess with the ladies. Especially the ones armed with supernatural powers and durable ABS plastic with a pair of sharp, pointy ears.
Levitron Lamp ($114 - $150). The Levitron's shade sits atop a magnet that hovers 3 cm above the lamp's base, producing a neat hovering effect, as well as encouraging passersby to give it a spin. When rotating, the shade's design puts on an spiraling geometric display.
Dragon Wrap Earring ($31). Add a little Daenerys Targaryen to her wardrobe with a menacing, yet somehow cuddly-loooking Dragon Wrap Earring. Its tail extends through the pierced lobe, and body curves 'round back, emerging at the auricular helix (er, scientific term for "top of the ear"), where it lopes with flared nostrils and eyes scanning for enemies of the Dothraki.
Pixel Panties ($28). This 8-bit underwear's Portuguese designers came up with their line of squares fit for round bottoms during one of the most enviable Eureka! moments I've ever heard: "After a night of intense video gaming we had a dream about sexy women in pixelated lingerie." Pixel Panties, true to their bit number, come in 8 different colors.
PyroPet Cat Candle (48). Pyropet cats, or Kisas ("cat" in their creator's native Icelandic), begin as geometric felines with protruding wicks. However, wherein in most cats beg for tuna fish, Pyropets beg for a lit match. Once appeased, their ambient illumination settles in and then...then! Their demonic underbelly begins to emerge. OK, technically it's their demonic skull that shows up first. An aluminum skeleton embedded inside the sculpted wax gradually reveals itself as the exo- cat parts burn away.
Meteorite & Dinosaur Bone Rings ($387 - $1,749). If your special lady is really that special, you won't just give her a ring, you'll give her a ring from a bazillion years ago! Inlays of Gibeon meteorite and agatized dinosaur leg bone from the Morrison Formation in Utah decorate these standout titanium and 14K gold bands. The rings' Gibeon meteorite material entered earth's atmosphere about 30,000 years ago (at a rate of 17 miles per second!), exploded in the air, and showered its fragments over a large span of Africa.
Sex Positions You Never Thought Possible ($17). Published by the creators of the Liberator Wedge, a line of pillowy ramps, blocks, ovals, and semicircles that establish and maintain various body positions and angles, with the goal of intensifying pleasure during coitus. But while the book uses the Wedge in its photographic journey through Sex Positions, written descriptions also provide directions for achieving the same effects with pillows and cushions, so even if she's not a Liberator owner, she can still learn the "secrets of angles and inclinations for the deepest, most orgasmic sex ever."
For Ladies Who Like Cute & Pretty & Magical & Furry Things
Cute Ass Animals Underwear ($35 - $56). Ahhh, underwear with adorable animal faces strategically sewn across one of my favorite places on earth.
Rainbow in My Room ($18). A nifty little desktop light machine for the dreamers who believe in unicorns and pots of gold.
Wine of Sacred Purity Unicorn Wine Holder ($18). Uh, a nifty little wine bottle holder for the dreamers who believe in unicorns and getting sloshed.
Hello Kitty USB Hand Warmers ($35). The less aggressive cat on this list. For the ladies who would rather keep their hands toasty than use them to impale someone's eyeballs.
Furry Animal Hoodies ($10 - $24). These minxy little pets extend along the shoulders into a cozy pair of mittens to keep her extra super warm when the temperature drops. Available in a veritable menagerie of furry beasts, from polar bears to brown bears, foxes to wolves, and huskies to snow leopards.
Diamond Ring Candles ($25). Diamond Candles makes candles (duh) with embedded diamonds (du...really?) Each candle is guaranteed to contain a sparkly ring for its burner to discover as the wax diminishes. Granted, they're not all diamonds, and they're not all set with real stones, but...some of them are. The themed candles can reveal anything from gumball machine trinkets to prized gems, with rings valued at $10, $100, $1,000, or $5,000.
Self-Watering Animal Planters ($23). These Tail Planters come with their own seeds for sprinkling over dirt in the little guys' backpack pots. Once planted the animals hook over the edge of a plastic cup filled with water and mind themselves from there on out. This set includes 3 planters: the cat, the monkey, and a dog.
Neverending Story Cases ($65). Geekify Inc.'s Neverending Story leather and suede cases replicate the iconic storybook cover right down to their entwined serpentine talisman, Auryn. Each is handcrafted to fit eReaders including Kindle, Nook, Fire HD, Paperwhite, iPad, and iPad Mini.
For Ladies Who Like Relaxing & Healthy Things
Waterfall & Massage Shower Panel ($260). Has both a gentle waterfall head cascading down from above and 8 massaging jets spaced along its sides, each adjustable for streaming at whatever part of her body needs a wet massage this time around. Swell bonus: the entire panel is mirrored.
Self-Sustaining Ecosphere ($56). Filled with tiny shrimps. Which means no diaper changing. No picking up shit with a plastic bag. No feeding. No nothing. These are a lady's best friend (read: the least demanding of attention that could otherwise be focused on you.)
Fruit Infuser Water Bottle ($11). Fitted with a plastic tube that's vented and removable for filling with the likes of lemons, limes, strawberries, cucumbers, and mint. The Flavor-It makes drinking water a far less unpleasant chore, plus dramatically reduces the risk of inadvertently sucking down a lemon seed.
JayBird BlueBuds X Sport Bluetooth Headphones ($132). A solid 8 hours of playtime for a full week of workouts, or a full day of listening. And they look kind of girly too, like they're made of honeycomb and stamped with butterflies.
Poo Pourri Before-You-Go Toilet Spray ($10). Yes, a spray that masks the smell of poo before you go is definitely relaxing. One because, and don't try to disagree with me, the act of pooing is relaxing. It's the ultimate release. And two, knowing that using Poo Pourri beforehand will ensure she doesn't stink everyone out of the house afterwards will provide a peace of mind that allows her to enjoy it even more.
For Ladies Who Like Household-y Things
Golden Goose In-Shell Egg Scrambler ($25). By alternating the rotation of an egg back and forth with a double-handled cordage system, this Goose can blend its whites and yolk together without penetrating the shell. Forget the whisk and the bowl and the errant shell chunks. This is 2014. This is the era of harnessing pure, raw centrifugal force to scramble an egg.
Where I've Been Scratch-Off Map ($19). One thing I've learned about girls is that they like to keep track of things. This scratch-off map falls right in line with their penchant for taking photos, making scrapbooks, and remembering every time I've ever screwed up.
VinniBag Bottle Protector ($28). The answer to the call of Fra-gee-lay. Engineered specifically to withstand air travel and high altitudes, and tailored to fit a 750mL wine bottle. VinniBag's design and composition can also protect any glass or otherwise fragile item that fits within its inner pouch from jostling and impact, plus significant changes in air pressure and temperatures.
Nest - The Learning Thermostat ($249). Girls are always cold. If you know one who is also thrifty and environmentally conscious, this thermostat is for her. Nest learns and adapts to your ambient air preferences, programming itself to mimic your adjustments, and automatically increase or decrease its temperature setting based on what you've done in the days prior.
Kinkajou Bottle Cutter ($50). Beer bottles, liquor bottles, wine bottles, fancy Perrier and Voss water bottles, any glass vessel whose contents have been sucked dry are contenders for Kinkajou bifurcation. And although the Kinkajou concept is not original--the market currently supports several different bottle cutters--creators contend that its size, manageability, and aesthetics set it apart from other bulky, less intuitive devices.
Electric Nut Butter Maker ($47). As the name suggests, Nostalgia Electrics' Nut Butter Maker churns any old nut, though some require the addition of oil and, in the cases of soy nuts and sunflower seeds, a certain amount of lunacy.